News Worms
News Worms

China makes way for Xi Jinping to rule country for life

China makes way for Xi Jinping to rule country for life

Xi, who was given a second term as the party's general secretary at the five-yearly party congress in October, has amassed seemingly unchecked power and a level of officially stoked adulation unseen since Communist China's founder Mao.

President Xi's political theory Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is now also enshrined in China's Constitution.

China's ruling Communist Party announced the proposed amendment only last month and there was never any doubt it would pass as parliament is packed with loyal party members who would not have opposed the proposal.

The concentration of power in Xi's hands "means that China could return to the era of Chairman Mao, when the Great Helmsman, who had no term limits, ruled by diktat", wrote Willy Lam, a senior fellow at USA think tank Jamestown Foundation and an adjunct professor at the Center for China Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in an online commentary last week.

China's largely ceremonial parliament on Sunday overwhelmingly endorsed a controversial change to the country's constitution, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely.

These latest revisions, in contrast, revive aspects of China's past, with a single leader standing atop a system built to carry out his whims.

But with the new amendments, he could now have a lifetime to push his goal of turning China into a global economic powerhouse with a "world-class" military by mid-century.

NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang said, "Every one of us on the NPC Standing Committee approves and supports amending Constitution".

Significantly, today's amendment also removed term-limits for the Vice President.

Chinese authorities have been unwilling to countenance criticism of the change, on Sunday going so far as to refuse to translate a reference in a question to the "Cultural Revolution", a period of murderous upheaval under Mao.

The Chinese legislature gave a near-unanimous approval to the sweeping changes, with 2,958 votes in favor, and only two votes against, according to South China Morning Post.

Observers say the constitutional amendment in effective paves the way for China's transition from being a one-party state to a one-leader state with Xi, described by some as an "Emperor", to remain in power in the foreseeable future. Beyond concentration of power, it is hard to see a clear direction in use of it to carry out reforms that Chinese economy needs.

The National Supervision Commission (NSC) will have a comparable status to the cabinet, the supreme court and the top prosecutor's office, consolidating existing graft-busting powers vested in various government agencies.

China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, or CCDI, which has great latitude to investigate Communist Party members, has similarly been accused of acting with impunity, including through its use of extra-legal detention powers to subject people to extended sleep deprivation and other forms of psychological pressure.

President Xi Jinping has become a strong face in China's politics.

The vote took place at the Great Hall of the People on iconic Tiananmen Square, where nearly 30 years ago student-led pro-democracy protests were crushed by the Communist regime.


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